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Polson appreciates school psychologists, speech pathologists

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News from the Polson School District

POLSON — The Polson School District offers a wide range of Special Education services to help students with disabilities learn. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, whose initial iteration passed into law in 1975 under President Gerald Ford, establishes 13 categories of disability under which a student may qualify. As you can imagine when you look at the array of challenges young learners may have, it takes an inspired and dedicated group of educators and other professionals to design and implement programs to serve each student’s unique needs.  

Across the Polson School District, serving 3-year-old preschoolers through seniors in high school, the district currently has a special education staff of 14 dedicated teachers and 19 paraprofessionals. It varies from year to year, and in recent years, most school districts have had some challenges filling all of their special education staffing positions.  

Most rural schools across Montana have found it especially difficult to find School Psychologists, Speech and Language Pathologists, and paraprofessionals to meet all their needs. This year we are happy to have two freshly minted School Psychologist graduates out of the University of Montana working in our Polson school community. We also have two fantastic Speech Pathologists working at Cherry Valley and Linderman School and a local Physical and Occupational Therapist with which we contract part-time for services in those areas. We have been trying to fill another Speech Pathologist position for a couple years and have had a somewhat difficult time filling paraprofessional positions in the last few years. Polson Schools continually look for engaging qualified individuals with interest in working with our youth.  

It can be an ambitious teaching assignment to work with wide-ranging challenges and abilities, and keeping up with the paperwork and annual team meeting responsibilities is intensive, but Special Educators are the kind of people you can be inspired by in the little miracles these folks provide every day.  

Fred ‘Mister’ Rogers once said, “Anyone who does anything to help a child in his life is a hero to me.” In this Polson community, we are fortunate to have an inspiring group of talented and dedicated teachers and staff to serve the diverse needs of all our learners. Every day we see ordinary heroes at work finding a creative way to teach a new skill, a new concept, a new idea to a learner who is inspired.

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